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Royal Watchers Discuss the Latest News and Gossip About the British Royal Family

Aired June 16, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: Britain's Prince William about to turn 22. Could the royal hunk finally be in love? And meanwhile, tabloids claiming his possible future stepmother, Camilla Parker Bowles, may be very ill. All that and a lot more in a royal news round-up with our panel of experts all in London: Robert Lacey, the best-selling author and royals biographer; Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary for the queen and for Prince Charles and Diana; Harold Brooks-Baker, publishing director of "Burke's Peerage," and Simon Perry, "People" magazine's London deputy bureau chief. And they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Prince William turns 22 on the 21st. Robert Lacey -- whose, by the way, latest book is "Great Tales From English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard The Lionhearted and More," just been published in the United States -- why is this a significant birthday?

ROBERT LACEY, AUTHOR, "GREAT TALES FROM ENGLISH HISTORY": Well, it's no more significant than any other, in one sense. It's obviously not as big as 21. What we did see this year was more openness. We've seen a girlfriend on his arm. He had more contact with the press when he appeared in front of them. We got a clear idea of what he might be doing in the future. He seemed to be firming up on a career in the army, or at least a few years in the army before he makes a definite decision. I think he's becoming, in all sorts of ways, a more defined personality, and he's certainly a fantastically popular personality over here in England.

KING: And Dickie Arbiter, who is Kate Middleton?

DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN: Kate Middleton is a friend of his from university. And I'm going to dispute what Robert said a few moments ago. I don't think we should read too much in the fact that Kate Middleton went on holiday to the ski resort with him. It's just that the press got excited because it's the first time that they've photographed William with a girl. Now, last year he went to Kenya with Jecca Craig (ph), and if they'd got a photograph of him with her, then he would have been traipsing up the aisle with her. Just so happens that Kate Middleton was around, they got pictures, and he's going up the aisle.

I don't think he's going up the aisle for a long time, and he's going to have a string of girlfriends, if he's got any sense about him.

KING: Harold, why is he so popular? HAROLD BROOKS-BAKER, PUB. DIR., "BURKE'S PEERAGE": I think that his popularity rests to some extent on his late mother, who was the most loved woman in the world. Whether you admired her or not, you have to admit her popularity was everything that the papers told us and that she made of it. He is also a person with his head well screwed on and is very thoughtful, is likely to take a long time in making a decision on marriage. He's a modern young man who is going to see many people before he makes any kind of decision.

And why not? He's seen his close cousins in Holland and Denmark and Norway and Spain marry recently people who do not come from royal families, as they all used to. Did not come -- not one came from a noble family. And in some respects, most of them are not even middle class. This means that he feels that the world is open to him. He can marry virtually anyone he wishes, and he'll probably take several years to decide which one of these many attractive girls will suit him for the long run.

KING: It's good to welcome Simon Perry to our panel. He's with "People" magazine, the London deputy bureau chief. We thank him for coming aboard. The photos of Prince William and this young lady were seen as the first serious breach of the palace press agreement to try to protect his privacy. What caused that, Simon?

SIMON PERRY, DEPUTY LONDON BUREAU CHIEF, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, the palace appealed for Prince William to be allowed to grow up in as private and as an ordinary situation as possible. And that means that if he's going to have friendships, relationships with young women, that he should be allowed to do so with the same freedoms as ordinary people.

However, he was quite clearly with Kate Middleton in a very public place in Klosters in Switzerland back in March, and I think there's a realization both with him and likely with her that, at some point, they were going to be photographed. They walk around St. Andrew's together a lot. They go to restaurants together. They've -- and hence, they've been on holiday together, as well. So I think there's a realization that, at some point, this was going to happen.

I mean, I disagree with Dickie. I don't think this is a brief fling, as it were. They've been dating for at least a year, as far as I understand. So while I don't think he's about to walk down the aisle, he's quite clearly very serious about her.

KING: Robert Lacey, would you say, at this point, they are a committed couple, they're not seeing others?

LACEY: Well, Simon really knows much more about this than I think anybody else on the panel. He's made that point. It's intriguing that this young woman has been living with Prince William for at least a year, and we really don't know the details of the relationship. And it may be that we're totally out of touch, so far as this is concerned. I mean, young people nowadays live their lives in different ways.

I'd agree that it's totally wrong to think in terms of matrimony, you know, but -- royal wedding bells. But clearly, she -- there's a friendship here, a very solid friendship, which is important to William. And I think the evidence is that he sort of dangled her in front of the press at Klosters, that he wanted it out in the open, and that he must be feeling more relaxed with the fact that this reality in his life, whatever she is, is now known and is now not a secret. It must be a great weight off his mind, I should imagine. But I'm just speculating.

KING: Dickie if they're living together, are there elements of the public upset about that, morals and all?

ARBITER: Yes. Hang on a minute about "living together." They're not living together. They just happen to be at the same university together. But that doesn't mean to say that they're living together.

And I do dispute, Robert -- you know, this is a girl that went on holiday, and just because it happens to be a girlfriend that goes on holiday, it doesn't mean, as Robert has rightly said, that they're going to traipse up the aisle. He did go on holiday last year to Kenya with Jecca Craig, and the likelihood is he's going to go back to Kenya again with Jecca Craig. And I don't think there's any permanent, permanent girlfriend around at moment. He's probably a little bit more friendly with one girl than he is with another one, but don't read too much into it.

He's got a lot to do before he actually settles down. He's got this career in the services that he's got to train for and he's got to get over because, remember, that when he does become king, when he succeeds his father, he is going to be commander-in-chief, very much like President George W. Bush is commander-in-chief, and the head of state here is commander-in-chief. And he's going to have to learn the ropes in the services. So there's a long way to go yet.

KING: But, Harold, that is a long way off, his being king, isn't it? We're talking decades.

BROOKS-BAKER: Well, the queen must stay on the throne until she dies. She made that promise during her coronation oath -- 25, 30 years, who knows. Her mother lived to be over 100, why shouldn't she? Her father and grandfather only died at an early age because of cigarettes. I think we can give them -- the royal family quite a long time before any decision will be made on Prince William. And it looks as if 20 years from now, many of us won't be here to document the situation anyway. But he certainly is not going to be king tomorrow.

KING: Simon Perry, would you bet that he marries early or not?

PERRY: Obviously, it's a big guess here, but I think -- I think he'll be married by the time he's 30, which is, obviously, eight years away yet. So we still have a long time. I think he's a very cautious person and also very decisive. So once he makes a decision, he will stick to it. Once he's happy with someone, he'll stick with her. His cautiousness would also make for perhaps a lot of thoughts about the sort of girl he's going to choose and make sure that person is right. Obviously, with his background of his parents, he's -- and their very public breakup, he's going to be very wary about making the same mistakes.

But as I say, I think once he's made a decision and has settled with someone, I think that person could be his wife before he's 30, I -- before his father got married at the same -- his father got married around 32, didn't he.

KING: We'll take a break, and when we come back, we'll talk about Charles and Camilla, and then we'll be taking your phone calls.

A couple of program reminders. The parents of Jeffrey Dahmer will be our special guests tomorrow night. Dan Rather is here Friday. And among the guests next week, Gene Hackman will aboard. And next Thursday night, former president Bill Clinton, his first live primetime appearance with phone calls with the publication of his book. Bill Clinton next week, among others. We'll be right back.


KING: Robert Lacey, what's the latest on Charles and Camilla, and is she ill?

LACEY: Well, I just can't comment at all on this question of illness. I know American tabloids have been suggesting that there's some sort of illness. I certainly feel there's some sort of mystery about Camilla. Yes, you're right, there's been a lot of talk recently about her and Charles marrying. The ex-archbishop of Canterbury, to publicize a book, revealed details that a lot of people thought he shouldn't, of private counseling he'd done with Camilla. And it pushed -- and he expressed the view that they should get married and sort of gave his blessing, for what it was worth.

But to come back to this question of Camilla's illness -- she seems to have a shyness or -- I mean, whenever I talk about -- on television -- about the issue of marriage and the fact that, you know, looks like they will marry soon, people who know her say, well, she doesn't really want to. And people in St. James's Palace say, Well, she's not really entirely happy with her public role. And really, this seems to me to put a big question mark over her position, as she's always liked to be in the background, but that's not really a realistic option for her.

And I think -- I've got a suspicion she is putting Prince Charles in a very difficult position because the uncertainty surrounding this relationship is not doing his image any good and not doing the monarchy as a whole any good.

KING: What do you hear, Dickie?

ARBITER: Sorry, Larry, what was that?

KING: What do you hear in this matter?

ARBITER: Well, you know, everybody talks about marriage. I personally don't believe -- and I've always said I don't believe -- that they will get married. There's no reason for them to get married. They're a middle-aged couple. They enjoy each other's company. They're comfortable in each other's company. And there are those in this country, the United Kingdom, who keep saying the monarchy should modernize, so what better way to modernize than to just live together, rather than to get married? And besides, if they do get married, what do you to call her? Because he is the Prince of Wales and she would be the Princess of Wales. And there's no good kidding ourselves that they would dig up another title because he is the Prince of Wales.

And then there are those that suggest using a European type of approach to a marriage, a Morganatic marriage, which would actually take an act of Parliament. That means that if they did get married, she wouldn't take his titles and she would probably be Mrs. Wales or Mrs. Windsor or something like that. I don't think there is a marriage in the offing. It's not something that she particularly cares for. She's been married. He's been married. And really, do they need do it? I don't think so.

KING: And if he's king, the king doesn't have to be married?

ARBITER: No, he doesn't have to be married.

KING: OK, Harold, what do you hear -- Harold what do you hear about the illness?

BROOKS-BAKER: All I can tell you is that her close friends in Wilshire do not believe that she is seriously ill. They say that. I believe them. I think, on the other hand, whatever illness she has is not going to snuff her life out in the near future, thank goodness. And she's a much respected and loved person. I have no doubt today, as yesterday, that they will eventually be married. But they are certainly going wait for the right time, when there are no grave problems surrounding the nation or the royal family. And that day has yet to arrive.

KING: Simon, why is she so popular?

PERRY: Camilla? I'm not so sure she's so popular. I think she's become much more popular than she obviously was, especially seven years ago, when the Princess of Wales died. It's been a long haul since then to get to a position where she's accepted by people. And that, I think, is the point that they're at. She is accepted as a person who's got a place in the Prince of Wales's life, and that's about it. I don't think there's a great groundswell of opinion that says they should get married or that there's a great desire for them to get married, mainly because, of course, for a lot of people, that would then mean that she will one day be queen, and that is a real problem for large sections of the British public.

KING: What does "People" magazine hear about the illness?

PERRY: We understand that she's not ill at all, not seriously -- you know, that the serious illness that was alleged in the tabloids is wrong. And I saw her the other night going into one of the functions that I think you've just been flashing up, to see "Mama Mia" with the Prince of Wales, I think it was last Thursday evening, and she looked perfectly fine that night. So you know, that's where we are, really. She seems fairly -- fairly fit.

KING: Does to me. We'll take a break, come back, and include your phone calls for our panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. The parents of Jeffrey Dahmer tomorrow night, exclusive. Don't go away.


KING: We'll begin your phone calls now on the subject of the royals. Miami. Hello.

CALLER: Larry, I have a question for Robert Lacey.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: If Charles would have married Camilla, how would that affect his eventually becoming king? And if waits to -- wants to marry Camilla after he is king, can he?

LACEY: Well, that's a very interesting question. I mean, I sort of agree with what Dickie has been saying here about, in a way, it's a very old-fashioned thing to think that the couple have to get married. But the monarchy's an old-fashioned thing in all sorts of ways, and this question nags away. I certainly don't feel that the question of Charles's status with Camilla can be left until after he becomes king. I mean, the queen could die soon. Of course, if the queen does live a long time, this whole question becomes academic, and Charles and Camilla might not even survive her. But the idea of Charles suddenly becoming king, there's an accession, and his status with Camilla Parker Bowles has not been sorted out I think would create all sorts of complications that I frankly think is irresponsible of Prince Charles and his people not to get it sorted out in some way ahead of time.

And again, I don't agree with what Dickie said about the legal position. I think it's perfectly certain now that if -- that somehow, Prince Charles's situation with Camilla has to be regulated. And I think we'll have to have an act of Parliament which says she'll marry him but she doesn't have to be Princess of Wales. Obviously, it's quite unacceptable for this woman to be Princess of Wales, and it's also unnecessary for her to be queen.

But there's one last thing on that, Larry. You know, we currently have a queen whose husband is not king. So therefore, it's perfectly possible to have a king whose consort is not actually called queen. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) act of Parliament, but she can be give someone sort of title. I mean, goodness knows, that's what the wretched titles are for, to enable this sort of thing to be done smoothly.

KING: Dickie, you want to respond?

ARBITER: Yes. You know, the titles aren't as simple as that. While he is Prince of Wales, he is Prince of Wales. That is his name. He is not -- he is the Duke of Cornwall, but that is a secondary title. He is the Prince of Wales. He was invested as that in 1969. And should they marry, she would become that.

There is an issue, yes, do they carry on the relationship and he becomes king, what happens then? And there has to be an element of responsibility. He is, after all, and will become head of the Church of England. It is somewhat ironic that the last archbishop of Canterbury should crawl out of the woodwork just because he's publishing a book and reveal that he did counsel them and he sees no reason why they shouldn't get married. It's not something that he actually said when he was archbishop of Canterbury. He ducked the issue. But because he's trying to flog a book, he is now coming out and saying that they can get married.

But I suppose a lot of people think, Why don't they get married? But there are these issues. They're complicated issues. I don't think it's doing any damage to the monarchy as a system, more to the monarch, who is fit and healthy, could go on for another 20 years, 25 years, by which time the Prince of Wales will be well into his 70s, and it begs the question, if they haven't married by then, then why bother?

KING: To Irvine, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. Yes. What charities does the Prince plan to be involved in after graduation or as -- in the military, as well?

KING: Harold, do we know charities or particular interests of Prince William?

BROOKS-BAKER: Well, I think that he's going to carry on much of the work that the Prince of Wales, his father, is involved with. The Prince of Wales Trust is responsible for hiring about 6,500 people. Many of those people wouldn't be even employed without him. And he is also interested in his father's agricultural interests, and the environment is top of the list of many of his great interests. So I don't think that you'll find that he will let much grass grow under his feet. He'll be involved in lots of charities, just as his father is at this very moment.

KING: Atlanta, Georgia. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Prince Charles was here last week for Ronald Reagan's funeral, and I noticed that he was one of the first out of the cathedral. And he came with a very small, little group of people. And I wanted to know if he had plans to stay in the States for a while, or if he went right back to England?

KING: Simon, do you know?

PERRY: I believe he came straight back. It was a fleeting visit to visit the funeral only. But hopefully, he'll be back in the States at some point in the next year or two. I know there's been moves for a couple of years now to try and work out a time when, hopefully, he can come over to the States and visit for a longer period. So we'll watch out for that.

LACEY: If I might come in here, Larry? He was there as the queen's representative at the late President Reagan's funeral. And he had to come back to England because on Saturday, it was the queen's official birthday, and he had to be there because he was on parade alongside the queen.

KING: But he was the official representative of the government, or the queen?

LACEY: No, he was official representative of the queen as head of state. Tony Blair was representing the government.

KING: And was -- even though there is a great deal of unpopularity for Mr. Blair and for the war in Iraq, was there any question about Prince Charles, Robert Lacey, coming back for that funeral?

LACEY: No. You're quite right, though, to allude to the fact that it's a pretty open secret that Prince Charles was opposed to the war in Iraq. Now, we're not quite sure of what his position now is, and I think it's pretty reliably known that earlier questions of him coming to the States were postponed because of his known antipathy to American foreign policy in that area.

This again is a big question mark over Prince Charles's future. He's a man with very firm opinions about all sorts of things. We've just had the Dalai Lama visiting Britain. Tony Blair refused to meet the Dalai Lama because of Britain's relations with China. Prince Charles sort of deliberately flouted the government policy by meeting the Dalai Lama, by endorsing what he's doing, by going to one of his talks. I was there. And you know, a lot of people feel sympathy with that, and people will have views on both sides. But it's not really the role of either the constitutional monarch or the heir to the monarchy to be making their opinions known in such a public way, whether one agrees with them or not.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more. We'll reintroduce the panel and get more phone calls right after these words. Don't go away.


KING: Let's reintroduce our panel, all in London, Robert Lacey, the best selling author of "Veteran Royal Watcher." Latest book is "Great Tales From English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionhearted and More" just published in the United States.

Dickie Arbiter is the former spokesman for Buckingham Palace, former press secretary for the Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Harold Brooks-Baker, is the publishing director of Burke's Peerage.

And Simon Perry is the London deputy bureau chief of "People" magazine.

And we go to Ottawa, Ontario. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry and the panel.


CALLER: How important is it that Prince William marry a blue blood and what importance might be placed on his future wife, sort of like his mother, being wholesome or virginal?

KING: Simon, how important is that?

PERRY: I don't think it is important at all anymore. Thankfully we're in a different age. And as I alluded to earlier, Prince William is a young man with a very strong will and very decisive nature. There is no way he's going to marry anyone that he doesn't want to marry for his own reasons, rather than reasons that are thrust upon him such as, you know, you should only marry a certain woman, because of her birth or her wholesomeness as you say.

KING: Anyone on the panel disagree with that?

PERRY: I think that he's going to be able to choose as he feels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Simon is right, actually.

LACEY: Nobody disagrees, Larry. We think Simon is actually right. Maybe we're being overly optimistic, but he's clearly a man with a firm view of what matters. And as Simon already said, with his ghastly example in his past of a wrong decision being made and the consequences thereof.

KING: Let's go to Wimberly, Texas. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, thank you, Larry. I would like to ask the members of the panel, is Prince William still very close to his mother's family?

KING: Harold, I know he attended the funeral of his grandmother, correct?

BROOKS-BAKER: Well, apparently he's reasonably close. But his uncle is not as perhaps available as people thought that he would be. And, of course, he was at his grandmother's funeral.

I met his grandmother only a few times, but she was an outstanding person in many ways, but she sadly was not on the same wavelength as the late Princess of Wales.

So there was a cold front there for a couple of years before the Princess of Wales' death. I think it is perfectly obvious that Prince William and his brother wished to overcome these problems and bridge the gap that is very much overdue.

But he will see the members of the family, does see them, not as much as maybe you would like to see him carry out general duties, but he has a lot on his shoulders and, of course, he is immensely close to his father. And his father represents the inspiration that is leading to a very sound young man indeed.

KING: Surrey, British Columbia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: I was just wondering how does anybody expect Prince William to find true love with the media and the paparazzi on him all the time? And if he did, and -- this girl, Kate, if it is his true love, what would happen if England and the monarchy didn't approve of her? Would he have to find somebody else?

KING: Mr. Lacey?

LACEY: Well, all sorts of big questions there. I think -- Prince William is really so popular at the moment that whoever he chose, people would go along with. I think that's basically the answer.

And actually the recent history of the way in which Prince William has been allowed to pursue this friendship, relationship, whatever it is with Kate Middleton over really quite a long period and the fact that here on this panel some of us think they're close together and others think it is just, you know, just one friend among many, actually shows it seems to me that without, you know, preening ourselves too much, the media has acted quite responsibly with the reasonably hands off attitude without too much prying.

They have -- again, I do disagree slightly with Dickie, they're not just students in a hall of residence, they have actually been sharing a flat together, an apartment. Now, we don't know whether they share the same bedroom or not inside that. They clearly have separate rooms. They're sharing another sort of house together this year. And people seem to accept that.

The days are gone when Diana had to be a virgin. There was no secret at all that Prince Edward actually lived with Sophie Rees-Jones in Buckingham Palace with the queen's blessing in a very modern way. And I think people will react to William in the future in the same tolerant and I hope not prurient way.

KING: To Raleigh, North Carolina. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, I wanted to know if the Princess Diana had her own royal jewels or did she wear the queen's jewels? And what happened to them when she died?

KING: Simon, do you know?

PERRY: She had her own jewels and she had family heirlooms as well. But she also wore some jewelry that, of course, was given to her or lent to her from the queen and the royal collection and so on. I think Dickie actually is well placed to answer some of those questions from his past.

KING: I agree. Dickie, what happened to her jewels?

ARBITER: Well, she did have her own jewels. When she died she wore the Queen Mary's diadem tiara and that would have gone back to the queen. It would have been there on loan to her, but on her death would have gone back.

She did have a lot of her own jewelry. There was a lot of jewelry given to her, given to her particularly on royal tours in the Gulf states, in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates.

But you've got remember, too, that she was a wealthy woman in her own right and there were Spencer family heirlooms as well. But, yes, she did have a lot of her own jewelry, but a lot given to her.

KING: Macon, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry, I was just...


CALLER: been beefed up around them? And how do they handle that? And also, isn't it hard for security with the prince having such a free spirit?

KING: Good question. Dickie, want to take that one?

ARBITER: Yes, I will take that one. Security has always been around Prince William from the day he was born, likewise with Prince Harry. There've always been a team of policemen to look after them. They had three policemen and they do about turns in terms of duty.

They have to be close protection. They have to be there. They're there when they go to school. They're there at university. They're there when he goes to play water polo, when he's playing, when he goes skiing. They are there alongside him to protect him.

It hasn't necessarily been beefed up. It always has been there. But perhaps it is a little bit more visible than it used to be in the past. It is something that they have to live with. We're living in those times when security is paramount. They are targets. And the policemen have to be there.

KING: Norfolk, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, I wondered, under the modern British law, may the heir to the throne decline the job if he so chooses? The reason I ask is that he told Prince Charles -- Prince Charles told Barbara Walters that he thought he would find the job of king rather boring and he thought his brother would enjoy it a hell of a lot more than he.

KING: Harold Baker, you want to take that one? Can he refuse?

BROOKS-BAKER: Well, I think -- it is technically possible for the heir to the throne to say no. It would be rather unusual. But I wouldn't be at all surprised if Prince Charles found himself in a position 25 years from now saying that he will not be king for the rest of his life, in other words he, would turn over the throne to his son that would mean that the ceremony would be changed. He would not be an anointed monarch, in other words, and that has rather grave problems. But certainly it is possible that we could go on to the Prince of Wales' eldest son, but it is certainly not a foregone conclusion.

ARBITER: I would like to comment there, Larry, because, that is a load of old rubbish. He can't just stand aside. He is the heir to the throne and the only way he can stand aside is the way that his great uncle did, Edward VIII, that is to abdicate. But you can't abdicate, until you become king, until the death of the monarch. An abdication takes an act of Parliament. So he can't just throw his hands up and say I'm not going to do it. does take an act of Parliament and it would be a constitutional crisis if something like that happened. On the other hand, there would be a mechanism through Parliament, that is our governing body, if he were incapacitated through illness, whether it was physically or mentally. But that is looking into crystal balls. But he can't just stand aside. It just doesn't happen.


KING: Let me get a break and I'm going to let -- hold on. Hold on. And than Harold will come in too. I got to get a break and we'll come right back. Don't go away.


KING: OK, Harold Baker, want to chime in on whether he can refuse or not.

BROOKS-BAKER: Dickie Arbiter is absolutely correct. But one must remember that the late Edward VIII, who turned himself into the Duke of Windsor was able to leave the throne because he had not been through the coronation ceremony, he had not promised God and his people he would be on the throne until the end. He was king just long enough to escape the coronation. And I think that there are many ways in which Prince Charles could in the future get around the possibility of being king. But at the same time, it is far more logical that he become king for a short time and then turn the throne over the way all of their cousins on the continent do today. That would mean, of course, there would be a different type of coronation ceremony.

KING: Before we take the next call, I want to ask -- I'll get that. Before we take the next call, Simon, is Fergie back in good graces?

Earlier this month our friend was invited to sit in the royal box with the queen and look at this. And look at this, she shares a kiss with Prince Charles.

Is everything OK with our lady?


PERRY: I think so. I don't know whether it's been so sudden. She was invited four years ago to the big party that happened at Windsor Castle for all the big birthdays and the queen mother, the then queen mother and Princess Margaret and Prince Andrew, her former husband of course, all celebrated birthdays in the same year and they had a big party and she was invited then. However, this is a fairly big landmark in picture terms. First time for 13 years, they've been pictured together and they seemed to be having a great time joking and chatting throughout the polo game last weekend. So, I think she's always been -- remained in good -- sorry, kept good relationship with the queen. It is the queen's husband, of course, Duke Edinburgh, she has more of a strained relationship with. So -- yes, things are looking up in terms of her being accepted, yes.

KING: Naples, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi. What would happen if Prince William wanted to marry a Catholic.

KING: Robert.

LACEY: Well, as things stand at the moment it would be quite impossible, because the Act of Succession, one of the specific things it says is that, and this dates back, of course, to warfare and national loyalties in the 18th century when Protestant England was fighting Catholic countries, notably France, and we got rid of a whole dynasty -- dynasty, the Stewarts, because they were Catholics and brought in the Germans Hanoverians, because they were Protestants. Having said that, I'm quite sure that if Prince William wanted to marry a Catholic, the Act of Succession would be changed.

It is already something that is offensive to lots of people in this country. And, again, the risk of reviving the controversy between my two colleagues on either side of me here, almost anything is possible with this British monarchy. It is quite -- it has been the case, for example, talking of Catholics, that members of the royal family who married Catholics have just left the order of succession. They've been moved out of the succession. That is an option with Prince Charles, if he didn't want to become king, he doesn't have to wait to be king and abdicate. There are mechanisms in which he can be taken out of the line of succession.

All sorts of -- at the end of the day, the British monarchy exists not by divine right of kings but by the consent of Parliament and is regulated by Parliament. And Parliament, if it wishes, can do virtually anything.

KING: Worcester, Massachusetts, hello.

CALLER: I was wondering if the Queen is having any health problems?

KING: Dickie, do you know of any health problems with the Queen?

ARBITER: No. Other than the two cartilage operations she had last year, one in January and one in December, she's pretty robust. She's only been in the hospital three times in her life. The first time to have two wisdom teeth out, and the other two occasions, a cartilage operation. She's pretty fit and healthy. If I could be like that at 78, I would be absolutely delighted. No, she's fit and healthy and as we say in England, God save the Queen, long may she reign over us.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with the remaining moments with our outstanding panel after these words. Don't go away.


KING: Beverly Hills, Florida. There is a Beverly Hills, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, hi. I have a question. I'd like to know if Prince William or Prince Harry do not like their dad or Camilla Parker Bowles for what happened with the mom, if there is any animosity still.

KING: Is there any, Dickie?

ARBITER: No. They absolutely adore their father. And even when the marriage was still on, late Diana, princess of Wales and prince of Wales, they adored both parents. Both parents gave them different qualities of life. Diana took them to hamburger joints, to the movies, to theme parks, did things that kids do all over the world. And their father took them hunting, shooting, fishing, taught them polo. They absolutely adore their father and they have a liking for Camilla Parker Bowles. She is, after all, their father's partner. And they respect that. They don't have to live with her. He does but the boys don't. And so yet they adore their father and they have a reasonable respect for Camilla.

KING: Baltimore, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Yes, I was trying to find out what type of relationship Prince William and Prince Harry have with their cousins from Prince Andrew? The -- Beatrice, I think it's Beatrice and Eugene?

KING: You want to take that, Simon?

Yes, I think they have a fairly close one. They don't see a huge amount of each other, though. There is a bit of a gap in terms of age and with college life and so on, they're sort of spread around the world and around the country at the moment. But, you know, family occasions, they're always very -- Christmas and so on when they walk to church together, they're always chatting and swapping little asides and what have you. So they seem to get along well quite a bit. But I don't know that they spend a large amount of time together.

KING: Sabattas, Maine, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I'd like to know if Prince Charles marries Camilla, why is it his uncle had to abdicate in order to marry a divorced woman. Camilla is a divorced woman, isn't she?

KING: Robert? LACEY: Well, the Mrs. Simpson episode involved more than just divorce. There is a school of thought among historians who say that if Mrs. Simpson had not been American, due respect to all of you, and if she had not been such a difficult, rather, hardhearted person with two -- apparently a hardhearted person -- with two husbands living, things might have been different. If she had been a pleasant English lady and had had marital troubles, then maybe this whole thing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of divorce would not have -- would not have been such a difficulty.

And the short answer to your question is that times have changed. As Dickie has already said, the whole of England of that generation is living with different partners without formal marriage arrangements. So I think the feeling here is let's just sort it out for their sake and for the sake of their happiness and on the Diana issue, let bygones be bygones.

KING: And Harold, quickly, on time basis here, we're running short, how is Harry doing?

BROOKS-BAKER: Extremely well. And he is immensely popular and much respected. As he goes to different countries, you see more and more support for the British monarchy and for the Commonwealth which represents 54 countries. He is as wonderful a brother as the future king could possibly have. But I think that the difficulty will come a few years from now when there isn't the place for him any more than there was for Princess Margaret. I hope therefore that he finds some sort of career.

KING: Thank you all, very much. Robert Lacey, Dickie Arbiter, Harold Brooks-Baker and Simon Perry, catching up with the royals. We always like to do that. Stay in touch and we thank you for your phone calls as well. There's some very exciting programming coming up. I'll tell you all about it when we come back. Don't go away.


KING: Some exciting programming coming up. Tomorrow night, the parents of Jeffrey Dahmer, an exclusive interview. Friday night, Dan Rather. And among the guests next week will be Gene Hackman and Jon Stewart. And next Thursday night, Bill Clinton. And it will be the former president's first live primetime appearance since the publication of his book which takes place next Monday. Bill Clinton, next week. That's great reason to go to New York. Another great reason is I get to see my man, Aaron Brown, Mr. B. We will lunch together.


KING: Mr. B. and we'll dine on fabulous food and enjoy the merriment of conversation.

BROWN: Well, it'll start out as fabulous food but when you get finished ordering it they don't know what to do. Thank you, Mr. King.


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